“Upon further investigation, we have determined that this is under an M-2, which is industrial zoning and does allow up to 35 feet, as we understand at this moment,” he said during a presser Thursday.
M-2 refers to a local ordinance.
“Because of the fact that this was going so quick, there had been some issues that did not allow the staff to properly vet the entire case,” he added, admitting that his team had screwed up.
Granted, he aimed some blame at “We Build The Wall” as well: “It was out of compliance with city ordinance, they did not get permits ahead of time for the construction. If the company did their due diligence beforehand, a lot of these issues could have been prevented,” he said.
The full presser may be seen below:
Launched by triple-amputee Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, “We Build the Wall” is a private group aiming to assist President Donald Trump in his mission to erect a wall along the southern U.S. border.
Operations were halted Tuesday after Perea issued a cease-and-desist order claiming that the group had failed to obtain the required permits from the city of Sunland Park before starting construction.
Speaking with local media, he first claimed that the group was trying to build the wall on private property. But then he admitted that the owner of the very property itself had submitted a permit application last Friday on behalf of “We Build the Wall.” He claimed however that the information provided in the application was incomplete in some way.
“The staff has been reviewing those particular documents and have determined at this point it’s incomplete and the construction of the wall at this point is in violation of city ordinances,” he said.
BREAKING: Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says they’ve issued a cease and desist to the company behind the private border wall built this weekend. pic.twitter.com/nfarPIO343
— Keenan Willard (@KeenanKFOX_CBS) May 28, 2019
While construction has since resumed, Perea claimed Thursday that some issues still need to be resolved, adding that Kolfage could face fines and perhaps even incarceration if he fails to comply.
“The all clear is not completely there,” he said. “They still, if there are any violations that are not met, they need to comply with those. Fines are options allowed by New Mexico law. I believe there’s, I don’t know if this allows for imprisonment of up to 90 days but that’s regulated by state statute.”
Kolfage doesn’t appear too concerned by these bureaucratic threats. On Thursday he held a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the group’s board members, including former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and retired Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
“Look, never underestimate the determination of the American people,” Clarke said. “The American people have always been able to be counted on in a time of crisis. We’ve seen the stories with wildfires, with floods, with tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes that cause great devastation. The American people have always dug into their pockets to provide extra resources to help out. And that’s kind of what happened here. This is a crisis here at the border.”
“There’s only one person in Washington, D.C. that understands and has a sense of urgency of how this thing is negatively impacting the American people. This is about the safety, security and sovereignty of the United States of America. The president’s made that clear, while the people in Congress want to make this about politics. The difference between the government and this group of patriots here is one thing: While they make excuses, we get shit done!”
And according to Kolfage, this is just the beginning.
“In the current pipeline right now we about have ten properties where we can do this at. Ten that are ready to go,” he said during a press conference with the media held Thursday.
“We have many more, maybe hundreds of property owners we have yet to make contact with. Fifty-seven days ago when I was on this property I didn’t think we’d get this done this fast.”
But instead of taking the credit, Kolfage laid the credit at the feet of the American people.
“[I]t’s the stories of the American people that really drive this,” he said. “It’s the stories of the American people who donated for this. They were donating with their money. They didn’t have to donate. They pay taxes. But they were willing to take that extra step to give us money to put up the border wall to protect our communities. And that’s what this projects about.”
“There was a lot of misinformation out there about fake news that we’re misappropriating funds and stuff like that,” he said. “It’s one hundred percent not true.”
The evidence was lying just behind him. He added that the reason his team had kept their plans secret for so long was to avoid drawing the attention of evil people.
“As you can see behind me we just built this wall with these funds. So that is why we kept this whole project a secret. We weren’t going to risk someone’s life down here dealing with the cartels. [Unclear what he said] is one of the most ruthless cartels. And you know I’ve faced a lot of trauma in my life. I’ve faced a lot of people like them in Iraq and I wasn’t going to risk anyone’s life. We kept it quiet.”
The full conference may be seen below:
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